Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Favorite Finds: Lisa's Record Console

Fellow Nashvillian Lisa of My pretty Baby Cried She Was A Bird lives a very vintage life with a house full of amazing vintage finds. I asked Lisa if she'd like to contribute her Favorite Find and happily, she obliged! She details her Favorite Find below!

What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

My favorite find, the find of the (mid) century, is my late 1950's Magnificent Magnavox console hi-fi record player. It was waiting for me in the dark recesses of a finished-basement-only estate/moving sale I went to about a year ago.

What were your first thoughts when you saw it? Did you know right away it was coming home with you?

The rest of the sale had been 100% lighthouses. You read that right. The woman who lived in the house aggressively collected lighthouse memorabilia, apparently for years, and was looking to liquidate her collection before moving to retirement. Afghans, figurines, clocks, pillows, windchimes, music name it, and if it had a lighthouse somehow incorporated in to the design, she bought it. I love people having serious collections, but I'm not much into maritime themed items, and felt a little disappointed I hadn't chosen another sale on my list to go to first.

So you can imagine, as I came across a little kitchenette/dining area in the basement and saw this pristine, metal-grate-havin', unusually diminuitive (compared to those mile-long 70's console stereos you see sometimes) piece, I was pretty heart-struck. The woman's daughter and I set about trying to see if it would plug in, light up, and play music (in that order), and we eventually flipped enough of the right switches to hear the crackly strains of Johnny Mathis's recording of "Shenandoah" coming out of the sixty year old speakers. Jubilation!

The quoted price was out of my range, so I asked if I could leave a (wildly low, but all I could afford) bid. When the daughter ran it by her mother, she accepted my offer on the spot! I couldn't believe my luck. In the year since I've got it, I've been to many more estate sales and seen many more hi-fis, but I still feel like this was the one for me.

It works! Tell us about playing music through it. How does it sound, what does it make you experience emotionally?

There is not a better sound, in the whole world, than putting on an old Charles Aznavour record and listening to it on that hi-fi. I feel like Anna Karina every time. The sound isn't as crisp at it would be on a cd or on stereo speakers, but something about the *depth* of the sound, and the quality of the tone, is really, really nice. I like to turn it up (and it gets surprisingly loud!), high enough to get a good booming sound but not enough to worry about damaging the speakers, and sprawl out on the couch to read magazines on my day off. Feels like a mini-vintage-vacation every time.

Give us some details on that record collection - what is your most treasured album?

I started collected records in middle school because everything I listened to was from the 60's or 70's, and picking up a record for $3 (or less) and transferring it to a dollar-blank-cassette via my dad's tape deck/turntable set up was less expensive than buying the cassette from the store. I fell in love with poring over liner notes and band pictures, and there are so-o-o-o many records and 45s floating around the house that I'm not really sure what all I have. The portion in the record storage space under the record player is for the MVP's of the collection that I listen to on the often...and there's everything from Lou Reed to Chad & Jeremy.

My most treasured record at the moment is the double album "Judy at Carnegie"-- my sister gave it to me for Christmas after years of only having a (beloved, but way less picturesque!) cd version. What a *sound* Judy Garland can make, coming out of those old speakers!!

Why do you love buying vintage?

Style, girl! It's all about the equal amounts swagger and elegance of clothes from an earlier era. And quantity and quality over new-ness is another interest. I could have one department store dress, that someone else could well be wearing on the same night at the same event, for $28, on sale, and it would be a "deal". Four sixties' dresses, hand-hunted from the wilds of Goodwill, practically if not actually one-of-a-kind, for the same amount, makes them a "steal". We love steals! And it's not that I don't ever buy new, but the thrill of not knowing what you're going to find at the thrift store or the flea market has just about ruined me on actual retail stores. I can express my taste and aesthetic without breaking my budget.

Love it! Thank you so much for sharing, Lisa!

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  1. Ah! She's so fabulous! I love the beautiful hi-fi found amongst lighthouses. It's like it was shipwrecked in a lonely sea of sadness in the basement before Lisa followed (or duly ignored) the lighthouses to find it. It was definitely meant to be.

  2. Thanks so much for letting me guest star on your blog! :)


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